1 John 3:1-7
Peace be with you!
Right now as I begin to write this devotion I am in sheer panic. I have used MobileMe for two years to store all of my documents, including all my website work for God the Healer. I made the switch to iCloud thinking I could transfer all of my documents from MobileMe to the new service. Well, if I had taken a few moments to do some research, I would have realized that the documents would not transfer to iCloud. To make matters worse, my iMac cannot use Lion operating system because Intellikeys, my special keyboard, is not compatible with Lion yet. For those of you not fimiliar Mac world, you get an username with iCloud and any Apple signed in with that username syncs with other Apple products using the same one. I am desperate to get all my documents back. And so here I sit, on hold with Apple, feeling a bit lost.
Before we can jump into the gospel reading for today, we must do a quick review of John 9: the healing of the blind man. Jesus heals the blind man and leaves him to be interrogated by the Pharisees. After the interrogation, the Pharisees cast the previously blind man out of the Jewish community. The blind man becomes lost without his community, the one he grew up in. However, the blind man is not without a community for very long. Jesus goes out and finds the blind man, and he welcomes him into the new community of discipleship. This new community gives the blind man a new identity as a follower of Jesus Christ.
In John 10:11-18, Jesus explains the significance of the healing of the blind man. As the good shepherd, Jesus is creating a new community to bring people back into a relationship with God. The good shepherd knows his sheep and calls them by name. When a sheep is missing, the good shepherd goes out and finds it. No sheep is left behind with the good shepherd tending to the flock.
Jesus compares the good shepherd to a hired hand who does not care about the single lost sheep. To the hired hand, one lost sheep is not worth the trouble to find and tend to since little money would be lost. Plus, it is not his herd, so he feels no loyalty to the sheep. He will be paid the same no matter what. But to the good shepherd, one sheep is worth just as much as the rest of the herd.
Jesus is the good shepherd who goes out and finds the lost to bring them back into a relationship with God. Jesus goes out and searches for individuals who have strayed away and lost their way. He ate dinner with sinners – tax collectors, prostitutes, the rich, etc – to show God’s love in for all people. The hired hand would be as impersonal and capricious as cancer, robbing others of good health and life. The hired hand has power over other individuals’ lives and decides their quality of life before knowing them personally.
However, the good shepherd is hospitable to all those in need – physical, psychosocial, or spiritual. The good shepherd meets people with hope in the midst of despair and gives them life. When communities cast you out, the good shepherd will find you, transform you, and welcome you into his community of disciples and followers.
Not only does the good shepherd find us, but he knows us intimately. The good shepherd knows where we hide and who or what we are running from and takes us in as who we are as individuals. He does not care about our scars from our past. The good shepherd welcomes us into a new community, which God intends to include all people, even those individuals that do not belong or care to be included. Jesus welcomes all to be in a relationship with God the Father and will go to the extreme to find us, even if it means dying on the cross.
After ten minutes of asking the tech guy how to recover my files off of iDisk and having him claim MobileMe was before his time, I figured it out myself by clicking on previous iDisk and hoping it would work. Thankfully I have recovered all of my files, which are now on my desktop until I purchase a second external hard drive or find another solution.
It is a blessing that I found my files, and my work is restored. Losing many files in the past has made their value clear to me. How much more important to God is one of His little “sheep”!The good shepherd keeps us in a relationship with God the Father by bringing us into a community with one another. The good shepherd gives us life where the hired hand will take it if given the choice. Like all of the social networks, the good shepherd builds bridges between time and space and connects us all together in a big community with God the Father.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for having the good shepherd go out and find us in the darkness. Help us to become a part of your community. Allow us to open up by sharing our gifts with the community and by being constantly in conversation with you. Welcome us into your community and lead us to be your disciples. Thank you for knowing and finding us. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. What does it mean to be found by Jesus?
2. What does it mean to be known by Jesus?